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Old 27-06-2017, 04:19   #1
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Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

Hi guys,

I usually sail double-handed / single-handed on my 39ft sailboat and the Genoa (masthead sloop) is quite big to handle - it's 54 sq meters, I think it is 150%.

I do have currently a removable inner forestay that I can put a hank-on Jib (100%, self tacking) or a storm jib. I use the jib time to time when I predict the wind to be some what stronger.

As my boat is now on hard and a mast is down, I was wondering if it makes sense to add a cutter stay and running back stays and in future to re-cut the sails for cutter-rig set up, as I plan to do more offshore sailing and want to make sail handling easier.

Any reasons why my idea is bad?

If I would go this route, what would be the best way to attach the cutter stay to the mast and how do I attach the running backstays (dyneema)?
Should I put a furler on the cutterstay or keep it hank-on?

Thank you for any advice
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Old 27-06-2017, 04:34   #2
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

I would consult with an engineer and/or sailmaker about balance with different sail combinations--getting the right headsails that will work together is the biggest challenge here. If planning to normally fly two headsails, adding a short bowsprit might be recommended.
Furler? no boat at any time should ever have a furler.
Mast attachment: isn't your 'cutter stay' attached somewhere already? Colligo Marine makes nice fittings for attaching dyneema running backstays. More complicated is where they'll land and how you'll tighten them. I began mine with a 4-part tackle, found that the lee (the slack) stay needed way too much line to be let out all the way, and so shortened it to a two-part with the tail led to a winch. It's faster to set it up now, as I'm pulling in less line. When I can afford it I'll get some Harken 75 lashing blocks, rather than the Antal rings I have now, but rings are great until you get your system worked out.
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Old 27-06-2017, 05:30   #3
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

We shot WNW out of Gibraltar in a Nic 55. Storm clouds threatened in the distance and the wind was blowing as we tacked. After an hour we came across another yacht, a large ketch. The skipper barked some orders and we changed from sloop to cutter rig as the highfield lever snapped viciously down on the deck. The race was on.

Well it might have been except the Nic just leaned over more and we slowed down, the ketch left us for dead and the skipper slunk off below to his bunk and bottle of gin. Later the mate ordered that awful sail combination changed as we settled down to the first nights sail.

Benz has said "getting the right headsails that will work together is the biggest challenge here"

I think he has a valid point and your desire for an easier sail plan isn't going to be forthcoming.

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Old 27-06-2017, 06:03   #4
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

A cutter is not just a sloop with two headsails. On a cutter, the mast is generally further aft to get proper balance. (You are talking about turning your boat into a "slutter" )
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Old 27-06-2017, 06:04   #5
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

As your boat is designed as a sloop, putting an inner forestay won't really make it a cutter (the mast is usually further aft on a cutter), but the permanent forestay could be a great addition to the rig for heavy wind with a reefed main. As mentioned above, to make it more of a real cutter, you'd probably want a sprit to bring the genoa forward. A naval designer would be able to help you with getting the sail plan balanced. I have a true cutter and love it. The staysail doesn't do much to windward, but on a beam reach or off the wind it adds drive. In strong winds it's great: I roll up the genoa and just use the staysail and a reefed main- perfectly balanced and the center of effort is near the center of the boat (unlike a partially furled genoa on a sloop). What's wrong with the setup you have now with the removable stay? It seems like a good solution for a sloop.
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Old 27-06-2017, 07:53   #6
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

There is another option here. The Solent rig. This is a double headsail rig where the inner stay tacks at the bow as does yours. The tack is only a foot or so aft of the forestay. Many folks put a furler on it, making it easy to change from a larger to smaller foresail. The inner jib tacks easily, the outer one cannot tack at all, but must be furled to tack. Another advantage is it is easy to run double headsails downwind.
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Old 27-06-2017, 08:51   #7
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

It sounds like a Solent Rig is how it is set up now. He is talking about putting an inner forestay in the same (similar) location as a traditional cutter rig for ease of handling. My understanding (not always good) of a Solent Rig is that the Solent stay is used for the average sailing conditions, often on a furler with the actual head stay being used for a large light air sail, typically on a furler. If you have to change down to heavy air sails, you either sail with a baggy rolled up sail on the Solent or you have to drop the sail to put up a storm sail, so you are still working on the foredeck, almost at the bow. With a cutter/slutter you are doing any sail handling farther back on the foredeck which makes life easier. The staysail will be smaller and of much heavier cloth than what is on the solent so you wont be changing sails as soon, or maybe not at all. Yes, when you are using the staysail you will need to use running bacls, but other than offshore or knowing you have nasty weather coming, you will probably sail with the inner removed and tied back out of the way. I am going through this mod on my 34 foot sloop right now and I expect that in some conditions it will sail better and some conditions it wont sail as well, but for short handed offshore work it will be easier than a Solent. I really only consider the staysail as a passage/storm sail and will sail as a standard sloop most of the time. Just my thoughts. ______Grant.
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Old 27-06-2017, 08:55   #8
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

Your genny is on a furler? Why not just furl in to reduce sail? You. iChat have already said why. Sorry in advance if that's true.
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:00   #9
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

The mast on a true cutter is almost midship in location. This aft position allows for a good size staysail that actually works well. Most times the staysail has its own boom and therefore is self tacking.
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:03   #10
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by xslim View Post

Here is the photo of boat. Is the mast too forward?
Attachment 150774
Just from the photo I would say not that simple. The older 70/80's race inspired boats had mast well set back and very large overlapping head sails + small main. I have done a conversion on this design and it was not only easier to work but the boat sailed faster! I would definitely say it is worth considering but you do want to look at the rig design. Ideally you want about a stay 60% up the mast and 60% of the distance between mast and tack. Give the staysail 15-20% overlap and low cut then the same overlap but high cut for the jib. This give a high efficiency slot effect. It will loose a degree or to of pointing but give lots of drive. If you loose the overlap you de-power the main and then loose both pointing and speed.
On boats designed around a large main and smaller headsail there is less advantage unless you move the mast back (immensely complex if not impossible). You then finish up with more sail and may be overpowered.
I think you said that the headsail is 150% overlap. My first recommendation would be to try a 120%. Any bigger than that is about racing rules not sail efficiency. You may find the boat goes just as fast but the sails are easier to handle. Also furling gear can loose 25% without becoming ridiculously inefficient so you can furl and loose the overlap which is critical to de-powering when the wind picks up. Try getting second hand/borrowing sails to play with and see how different setups work before deciding.
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:05   #11
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

When adding a cutter stay there are some other structural considerations to take into account. You want the cutter stay's attachment point to be in about the same location on the spar where the head of a deeply reefed mainsail is, so that it helps the mast resist inverting. Since a deeply reefed main tends to pull the spar aft at the headboard with quite a bit of force.

Also, you need to take into consideration the lateral loads put onto the rig by a staysail, & what will balance them out. Meaning are your stays & mast tube beefy enough where you intend to attach the cutter stay to handle the side loads created in that spot by the sail? Especially since staysails create loads akin to a full sized jib, due to the high winds they're flown in.

You can also have an inner forestay which connects to the mast at the Solent position up high, but further aft, in a Staysail location on deck. The sails won't much know the difference, & the need for runners is far less. Ditto some of the above considerations.

Another thing which you'll need to figure out, is where you'll lead the sheets for the new sail, & how you'll adjust their position. Both fore & aft, as well as inboard & outboard. Since their location will determine how well your boat sails, & their location will need to change based on wind & sea conditions of the moment. As you want to be able to go to weather, but not have things sheeted in so tightly that you have excessive leeway which kills your VMG. And their position too will affect how you trim the main.

Also, the search engine will turn up a LOT of info on this topic, as it comes up almost weekly. But here are some threads & info worth reading:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ay-127556.html
https://www.practical-sailor.com/iss...y_11824-1.html


EDIT: It's pretty easy to add a nose/beak for an inner forestay, or soft hounds akin to what's found on the Colligo Marine website. Ditto on attaching tangs for runners, be they metal or synthetic cordage.
Again, the search engine's your friend here. And it'd also behove you to visit a few spar maker's websites.
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:11   #12
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

Xslim, any rigging shop should be able to sell you the HOUNDS (no idea how that name came to be) if you do a contour tracing of your mast section. I bought mine from RIG-RITE for about $280 US. Has attachments for stay, halyard and runners. It took a month to get it , so you might contact several suppliers to find a quick one if you dont want the mast down for too long. Since your boat looks like it is a double spreader rig, you may find that the hardware is already there at the upper spreader. Reinforcing the deck will be critical, but can be done in the water. Mine will be a little farther aft than I wanted, but a windlass in the way and a convenient anchor locker bulkhead to beef up made the decision for me. _____Grant.
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:26   #13
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by xslim View Post
My removable stay is an inner stay from masthead to the bow.
The problem with current setup is that changing sails is quite hard. If wind blows harder I need to first roll the 150% geny, put in the stay, drag a heavy weight bag with jib to the fore deck and hank it on.
That is why after looking on a cutter rig I thought that hat is something I would like.

Here is the photo of boat. Is the mast too forward?
Attachment 150774
xslim, are you on the hook in St.Georges Harbour Bermuda at the moment ? If not, a sistership is. Burnished aluminium.
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:39   #14
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

Your real problem "The problem with current setup is that changing sails is quite hard. If wind blows harder I need to first roll the 150% geny, put in the stay, drag a heavy weight bag with jib to the fore deck and hank it on." Since you have essentially a solent rig, the solution is not a cutter stay, which would likely result in a head sail too small for anything but gales.

When you go off-shore, rig the inner stay before you leave the dock with the inner sail already hanked on and in the bag lashed down to the deck. To tack your genny, you will have to furl it and pull it out on the other tack. That is a small bit of a pain, but offshore, you will not need to tack often. Since the inner sail is rigged all the time, you only need to furl the genny, untie and hoist the inner sail. Keep it on hanks so it can be dropped and removed if needed. A furling sail, with no connection to the stay when dropped out of the luff track, cannot be removed at sea in a blow by 1 person. This makes furling sails a safety hazard for short handed sailing IMO. Imagine sailing in 45knots with a genny roller reefed, then the furling line chafes through and breaks and you have 150% genny out in heavy weather with no easy way to get rid of the sail.. very bad.
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:45   #15
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Re: Adding a cutter rig / sloop to cutter conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by xslim View Post
My removable stay is an inner stay from masthead to the bow.
The problem with current setup is that changing sails is quite hard. If wind blows harder I need to first roll the 150% geny, put in the stay, drag a heavy weight bag with jib to the fore deck and hank it on.
That is why after looking on a cutter rig I thought that hat is something I would like.

Here is the photo of boat. Is the mast too forward?
Attachment 150774
By eyeball, yes. I have a true cutter. Note the difference: the mast is nearly in the center of the boat, giving me a 20 foot J measurement on a 41' 10" LOA (including bowsprit):
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